121 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North (St. Luke’s Church)

Built in 1879, designed by Crouch and Wilson and built by James Kennedy. The first owner was the Church of England (St. Luke’s) but it is now owned by the Hungarian Reformed Church.

St Lukes Church – Google Image May 2013

Due to the increase in population in the North, during the early to mid 1850’s the authorities for St Mark’s Church, Fitzroy, applied to the Government for the reservation of a site for a Church, School and Parsonage, facing Alexandra Pde (then Reilly Street) and Queen’s Parade (see image below). However, on 26 July 1869, the Government revoked the temporary reservation and sold this and other adjacent Crown Lands by Public Auction. by this time, Brunswick St had been continued north to Holden Street. (St. Luke’s Church of England, North Fitzroy, St. Mark’s Church of England, Fitzroy, by Deborah McColl, 1967, p.93).

Original location of St Luke’s Church. (St. Luke’s Church of England, North Fitzroy, St. Mark’s Church of England, Fitzroy, by Deborah McColl, 1967, p.93).

This prompted a flood of letters from church authorities and by August 1869 another reservation had been granted. Time was not wasted this time and the memorial stone was laid on 3 Dec 1870. (St. Luke’s Church of England, North Fitzroy, St. Mark’s Church of England, Fitzroy, by Deborah McColl, 1967, p.94).

‘s Church. (St. Luke’s Church of England, North Fitzroy, St. Mark’s Church of England, Fitzroy, by Deborah McColl, 1967).

A timber schoolroom was constructed in 1870 (Argus, 1 Oct 1870, p.3 Tenders called) on a reserve between George and Napier Streets. The first service was held in this wooden building on 23 October 1870 by Mr. A Weir, a lay reader. However it was soon realised that the location was not ideal being located on the Southern boundary of the parish, the Fitzroy swamp and drain to the south, the gasworks to the east and town storage yard to the west. By ‘Governor’s allowance’ of 15 October 1877, the church was given permission to sell the site and the present location was bought on 27 November 1878. (D C McColl, St Luke’s Church of England, N. Fitzroy, St. Marks Church of England, E Fitzroy, B Arch, University of Melbourne 1967, p.94). The stone was relaid in the new site.

Memorial Stone – re-laid on 4 Feby 1879

“This church was built in 1879 to the design of Crouch and Wilson, architects and constructed by James Kennedy contractor for 3,250 pounds (Australasian Sketcher April 12 1879, p.6). The church was consecrated on 15th March 1891 (D.C. McColl, p.99). The church was built to only two-thirds of its intended length. The brick chancel and vestry were added in 1910. (North Fitzroy Conservation Study 1978).

“The Memorial Stone was laid in February 1879 at the corner of Watkin Street, St. Georges Road and Brunswick Street by the Right Rev. Dr. Moorhouse. The building is in the early decorated style of English architecture, and when completed will be 76′ exclusive of lobby and chancel. The portion already commenced is 51’7″ x 45′ wide; the side walls at their lowest part being 23’6. The church is open to the ridge which is 47′ high from the floor, and is finished externally with ornamental cast iron cresting. The roof is carried on 8 ornamental cast iron columns with foliated capitals. The tower at the corner of Brunswick and Watkin Street rises to a heigh of 131′ surmounted with an ornamental vane of wrought iron galvanised and gilded. At the south east corner is a turret with a high slated roof and ornamental cresting. Principal entrances are under the tower and the turret, and between the two is a ‘paved lobby, 6’ wide lighted by 4 windows of stained glass. Above these and lighting the church over the lobby is a large mullion window, with smaller ones on each side with geometric tracery. The material used in the building is bluestone, relieved with white pressed bricks and pressed cement. The cost of the building is estimated at 3,250 pounds including the seats and gas fittings. The architects are Messrs. Crouch and Wilson, and the contractor is Mr. Jas. Kennedy.” (The Australasian Sketcher of April 12, 1879).

St Luke’s Church, North Fitzroy

“The church is composed of a main gable with four subsidiary gables running in from the side over the aisles. The front façade consists of a tower at one corner projecting outwards in both directions, and a subsidiary tower at the other corner which has a separate roof. The smaller quasi-tower has triangular gambrel vents let into a pitched steep hipped roof, with a short ridge, capped by finials and ironwork. The main tower is slightly primitive. Above the main base section there is a level with two circular windows of quatrefoil insets, then what appears to be the bellcote level, a pair of Gothic pointed windows with louvre openings, then a horizontal almost Italianate eave with brackets. It has a crude steep pyramidal roof clad in metal sheeting with nothing to surmount the top, not even a finial or a cross. It has a rather strange witch’s hat appearance. The style is principally Early English. The facade is in bluestone with cream brick dressings and cement caps to the set-back of the buttresses. The smaller door at the left has one order of cement colonettes, the larger door has two concentric orders of colonettes and label moulds with foliated crockets.

Internally the space is a complete rectangle with a raking floor and very slim quatrefoil iron columns supporting a pitched roof. Diagonal deal boarding runs over the whole, broken only by intersections of the side gables. There is an openwork timber arch running between the tops of the columns and triangular vents are broken through into the main gable section. Simple bands of coloured glass around the edges of the windows are largely intact and may be original. The widows are pointed Gothic with oculi above. The chancel end has been slightly more modified with the panelling at dado height. (North Fitzroy Conservation Study 1978) (Glossary)

There was also a caretaker’s cottage bought on 22 February 1924 and later demolished in 1962. This site next to the church became the site of the vicarage. The original site was further south at 117 St George’s Road, but was sold in 1947. The below images show how this was allocated. (D C McColl, St Luke’s Church of England, N. Fitzroy, St. Marks Church of England, E Fitzroy, B Arch, University of Melbourne 1967, p.104).

(D C McColl, St Luke’s Church of England, N. Fitzroy, St. Marks Church of England, E Fitzroy, B Arch, University of Melbourne 1967, p.104).

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